April 21, 2013 (Palm Beach, Fla.) — Gregory D. Wasson today described progress in the pursuit of community pharmacy’s full potential in healthcare delivery, and called for ever-strong participation, innovation and communication through the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) to generate continued advancement.
Wasson, chairman of the Board of NACDS and president and CEO of Walgreen Co., delivered his remarks during an NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program. His comments served as a reflection and as a look forward at the conclusion of his one-year term as NACDS chairman, and during the celebration of NACDS’ 80th Anniversary.
“Over the past year, I’ve consistently talked about the push-pull environment we’re all operating in,” Wasson noted, referring to national dynamics that he says are pushing the advancement of community pharmacy’s role in healthcare, and pulling pharmacy to provide innovative solutions to help solve healthcare’s ongoing challenges.
“The simple fact is, our nation needs us to step up, and advance the role of community pharmacy in healthcare, and provide innovative, affordable, high-quality and convenient solutions to help meet our nation’s healthcare needs.”
Wasson noted important developments over the past 12 months that reflect the positive standing of community pharmacy services.
He described the 2012 announcement of the Congressional Budget Office that a one-percent increase in prescription drug utilization would lead to an overall decrease of $1.7 billion in healthcare costs. He also described the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 2013 release of a study that found that Medicare beneficiaries with chronic pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure who received medication therapy management (MTM) services experienced improvement in their drug regimen quality and cost savings.
“Here are two great examples of how we’re delivering on our commitment, from two government entities that have an important say in public policy related to healthcare delivery,” Wasson said.
He also described the results of NACDS opinion research, saying that “among the reasons the respondents gave for their favorable opinion of pharmacies was that pharmacies are innovating and expanding their services by emphasizing personal relationships with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive services.”
Looking to the future, Wasson said of the industry, “we must continue to enable our pharmacists to play an even greater role in healthcare; we must continue to focus on producing and measuring real outcomes in order to substantiate the value of our industry; and we must continue to educate policymakers.”
Wasson urged engagement in the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program — including pharmacy tours for members of Congress, the highly popular NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, and the key contact program for strengthening dialogue with elected officials.
He also highlighted the importance of the inaugural NACDS Total Store Expo, which will debut August 10-13 in Las Vegas and cited the strong response to date. “We’re already more than 90 percent of the way to selling out our exhibit hall space,” Wasson noted.
Finally, Wasson urged widespread use of the community pharmacy “elevator speech” that NACDS has developed regarding the industry’s value as the face of neighborhood healthcare. The key four points include:
Wasson thanked NACDS Board of Directors members, NACDS chain and associate members, pharmacy school deans and other allies for their engagement with NACDS. He credited their involvement for the Association’s success as an organization that is “80 years young” and “older in age, but in reality a more vital organization than ever.”
Wasson acknowledged Colin Mackenzie, president, GSK Consumer Healthcare North America, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, who supported and spoke at this morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program. Similarly, Roberto Marques, Company Group Chairman, North America, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumers Companies, is supporting and will speak at Tuesday morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program.
Today’s Business Program also featured remarks by NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, and a keynote address by journalist and author Daniel H. Pink.
Wasson concluded, “Our 80th anniversary message is ‘Experience It.’ So, I hope you’re doing that this week with your peers.”